I’ve said that Street iPhoneography is my favourite genre. Sometimes though a candid street image gives you an opportunity to process it in a non-traditional way.

I have already shared a relatively traditional process of this image, albeit I continued my experiment of tilting the focal plane. Whether you want to call it mimicking tilt-shift photography or lens-baby or freelensing effects, they are all capable of yielding broadly similar results (although freelensing is the only one of those I have first hand experience of).

‘Mrs Whistler?’ took her inspiration from the famous ‘Whistler’s Mother’ painting and therefore it felt very appropriate for me to try a painterly process for this image. When I say ‘process it in a non-traditional way’ I am referring to the genre. Painterly and texture blending are iPhoneography processes I enjoy very much but in general I tend to employ them in still-life situations.

It was a real bonus that this iPhoneography capture invited me to try a second process and ultimately generate a second very different result from the initial photograph.

iPhone photography apps used:

iphoneography - Whistlers Mother

{ Mrs Whistler? ~ painterly }


Process and apps used

Oggl ~ initial capture:

This combo is Libatique lens with Blanko Freedom 13 film. Oggl is part of the Hipstamatic family and you can import all of your film and lens purchases in to it. The beauty of Oggl is that you select the combination of lens and film after capturing the image and it is really interesting seeing just how different the various combinations are:

Snapseed ~ My initial intention with this image was to create a tilted focal plane as I have been doing in my freelensing workflows. One of the things that really helps to generate ‘bokeh’ detail in the out of focus areas is to initially enhance the image via the ‘Drama’ filter:

Filterstorm ~ This is the point that this painterly / texture blend iphoneography edit took a different path. The background became much less important and I wanted to fill the canvas with the subject as much as possible. Initially I cropped the image to a 4:3 ratio maintaining 2,000px along the shortest side:

By my standards this is quite a heavy crop and re-size but the nature of painterly techniques means that future processing will heavily edit every pixel of this image. If there are any quality issues they will be removed:

This is { image one }:

BlurFX ~ A median blur is applied to the entire image at maximum strength. The figure is then cleaned. This is a manual process but only takes a few minutes. BlurFX enables excellent zoom and so if necessary detail can be worked on closely. This iPhoneography image suited this processing perfectly:

Screen Grab

Glaze ~ The freshly blurred image is imported in to Glaze and a painterly finish applied from one of the standard presets:

This is { image two }:

Superimpose ~ image one layered over image two. The images are blended under ‘darken’ at 50pct opacity:

This reintroduces detail whilst maintaining what is in effect a bespoke textured painterly appearance:

Screen Grab

Handy Photo ~ the image is run through the ‘drama’ filter to pull out more definition with the lightness level of the filter adjusted to 60pct:

This is { image three }:

Screen Grab

Superimpose ~ At this stage the key element in the image lacks saturation (the figure’s skin tones). I therefore import image three as the background and layer image one over the top. The ‘magic wand’ and ‘brush’ tools are used to select (mask) the skin areas and the apple and then the mask is inverted to leave just the skin areas and apple unmasked. The layers are blended under ‘color’ with foreground saturation boosted to the maximum:

Screen Grab (mask)

Screen Grab (blend)

Screen Grab (saturation)

Snapseed ~ A bit late in the day I decide that I would like to crop the iphoneography square. As I had already ensured the shortest side was 2,000px wide I had plenty of scope to crop to a 1:1 ratio and maintain my minimum size goals of 2,000px square:

This is { image four }:

Distressed FX ~ The palette feels a little too muted to me. Almost black and white. I take note of the large white blob towards the top edge of the image and decide to use it as the focal point to introduce some colour. My goal is to introduce additional colour only above the wall line. ‘Jules’ filter applied:

This is { image five }:

Screen Grab

Superimpose ~ The situation now is that I have two iPhoneography images and I simply want to seamlessly combine the best parts of both in to a single image. I therefore import image four as the background and overlay image five as the foreground. A shallow linear mask is applied along the top of the wall so that image four is viewable below the wall and image five is viewable above the wall. The layers are combined under ‘screen’ at 25pct transparency with the coloured foreground layer saturation boosted to taste:

Screen Grab (mask)

Screen Grab (saturation)

Screen Grab (blend)


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  1. Indri Richardson says:

    Your editing is superb and it’s always interesting to read every time you posted something in your website.
    Thank you for the tutorial, I will try to do it although it is still difficult for me to understand how to use Glaze properly but I will try to find the tutorial in how to use it.

    • Skip says:

      Hi Indri, thank you! I agree re Glaze. There is an in app tutorial but I haven’t been able to create any of my own Glazes. I just use a standard preset.

  2. RegiB says:

    I really like your use of these apps. Using glaze was interesting too. I like blending to bring back detail also. Thanks for posting. Lovely capture and edit!

    • Skip says:

      Thank you Regi, my pleasure. I’m not normally a big fan of an obvious effect. That’s why I like to blend multiple versions. You end up with unique textures which tend to suit the image perfectly although occasionally wander down a dead end!

  3. Another great workflow tutorial Skip, and an amazing image to complete it.

  4. Geri says:

    I am bookmarking this to study tomorrow–I so love this piece!!!

  5. Gilles Dezeustre says:

    Thanks for the great step by step and the beautiful results! We will try to make Glaze easier for custom effects!

    • Skip says:

      Hi Gilles, thank you for your kind words and your comments about custom effects. Would be brilliant if I could get to grips with it. I suspect it’s me 🙂

      • Gilles Dezeustre says:

        oh no it’s not you, Glaze is not easy as can be…. Glaze has now quite a following, and we have big plans to improve on it in the coming updates!

  6. Great tutorial, Skip! I really like your explanation on applying a linear mask on Superimpose to obtain the final image. Something I want to try out on my future “painterly iphoneography”.

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